Group Lotus confirmed that it will reduce the number of its engine leases from five to three for the remainder of the IZOD IndyCar Series season by making offers to Bryan Herta Autosport and Dreyer & Reinbold Racing to end their agreements.
Bryan Herta Autosport will not participate in any further races as a Lotus team and Dreyer & Reinbold Racing will compete in Sao Paulo, Brazil, this weekend with the 2.2-liter, twin-turbocharged V-6 engine in the No. 22 car of Oriol Servia.
Lotus acknowledged that while the engine has demonstrated promise, minimal testing has resulted in reliability issues on race weekends. Following feedback and review through the first few races of the season, Lotus undertook a strategic review of its position to decide what course of action would be in the best interests of INDYCAR and the teams it supports, according to Director of Motorsport Group Lotus Claudio Berro.
"Our focus is on the Brazil race and we are still a part of the Lotus team," said Dreyer & Reinbold Racing co-owner Dennis Reinbold, whose team entered into the agreement with Lotus Group in November. "We are excited to go down there. We wish Lotus all of the best going forward. We are in the midst of finalizing our future plans and we are talking to the series to conclude that process."
Lotus will continue to work with Lotus HVM Racing, its original partner team, and Dragon Racing. Berro said the company intends to continue to assist its engine supplier, Engine Developments Limited, by providing external support and additional financial resources to expedite the development program.
“Lotus in IndyCar is like David versus Goliath,” Berro said. “We are and always will be a niche British sports car company built for the few, not the many. That said, I’m delighted with our solution and I can assure everybody that the actions were taken after careful consideration and will assist in ensuring the brand’s high racing ambitions and the high expectations of the IndyCar community are realized.”
Berro said when Lotus entered the IZOD IndyCar Series the regulatory requirement to supply multiple teams and the late timing of Lotus’ entry placed a significant restriction on the development program. Though he knew it would be a challenge, it was a challenge “that Lotus was determined to meet.”
INDYCAR will work with Bryan Herta Autosport and Dreyer & Reinbold Racing during the transition to either the Chevrolet or Honda engine for the Open Test at Texas Motor Speedway, the Indianapolis 500 and beyond.
“INDYCAR is committed to ensuring that our teams and manufacturers have a platform to remain competitive,” INDYCAR CEO Randy Bernard said. “We support Lotus' decision and will assist Dreyer & Reinbold Racing and Bryan Herta Autosport in securing engine support for the remainder of the season.”